Why We Fail at Teaching Math and Eight Types of Tech Tools to Improve

FAILINGS IN THE MATH CLASSROOM

Too often math is taught as a series of memorizations where even math games are often re-packaged drill-and-kill exercises. Life (just like great movies) is filled with open-ended journeys with open-ended questions. Students should learn not only the skills of arithmetic but also how to ask better questions to determine what is needed.  The chart below shows why we so often fail in teaching open-math in the classroom.

One way to open up math instruction is to make it a realistic problem or story. That framework of open storytelling is the basis of Dan Meyer’s 3-act math. Using videos, images, and applications Meyer introduces students to a central conflict, guides them to overcome obstacles, and allows students to resolve the conflict while setting up an extension/sequel.

You can find examples at G-FletchyWeebly, or on Dan Meyer’s spreadsheet. Find similar estimations at Estimation 180, graphing activities at Desmos, lessons and games at Math for Love, and multimedia math stories at Math Snacks.

Below is a select list of our other favorite math tools. You can also go online to find a more thorough list of math resources.

LIST OF RESOURCES

Videos and visuals

WEB TOOLS AND GAMES

INTERACTIVE DISPLAY TOOLS

  • Interactives (dice adding, fraction shapes, number lines, etc.)
  • SMART Lab – game-based learning creation tool
  • Activity Builder – create your own interactive tools
  • Geogebra – geometry package providing for both graphical and algebraic input.
  • Equation Writer – add equations to a lessons easily

TABLET APPS

VISUAL MODELING

NUMERICAL MODELING

  • DragonBox Math – 5 apps, $4.99 to $7.99, ranging from number sense to algebra and geometry
  • MotionMath Games – 9 apps, $2.99 – $5.99/subscription – arithmetic, word problems, fractions, number lines, & more
  • Teachley – 4 apps, Free – $4.99, arithmetic animal adventures
  • Slice Fractions – $5.49, fraction adventure game
  • Divide by Sheep – $2.99, puzzle game
  • MathSnacks (3 Apps, Free – $2.99) – ratios, fractions, and number line games & videos
  • Prodigy – Final Fantasy-like adventure game that involves math
  • Pick a Path – math puzzle maze

EARLY CHILDHOOD

SKILL PRACTICE

TOOLS

MATH LEARNING CENTER

The Math Learning Center is a nonprofit organization that seeks to inspire and enable individuals to discover and develop their mathematical confidence and ability. The offer a curriculumresources, and a learning blog.  Among those resources are a suite of math demonstration/exploration apps that cover a number of skills across several platforms. Among these are FractionsGeoboardMoney PiecesNumber FramesNumber LineNumber PiecesNumber RackPattern Shapes, & Vocabulary Cards. Find them for AppleChrome, or online. Also check out the lessons and scholarships that are available.

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